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  No 2-finger test on rape survivors

No 2-finger test on rape survivors

Published : Aug 12, 2015, 12:47 am IST
Updated : Aug 12, 2015, 12:47 am IST

In accordance with Union ministry guidelines, state bans practice

Here & Now
 Here & Now

In accordance with Union ministry guidelines, state bans practice

The Maharashtra government has decided to ban the controversial two-finger test (TFT) being done on victims of sexual violence by doctors during medical examinations, which has been in practice for years. The decision was taken in accordance with the fresh guidelines issued by the Union ministry of health and women welfare. The Delhi government recently banned the test on rape survivors.

The state public health department has issued a government resolution, making it clear that the two-finger test has no bearing in the case of sexual violence and will not be conducted henceforth.

Dr Archana Patil, joint director, health services, said, “There was some ambiguity over conducting TFT. The earlier GR issued by the department in May 2013 was not specific about the test, but with the fresh GR, it is in black and white,” Dr Patil told this newspaper.

TFT is basically the examination for laxity of vaginal muscles by the doctors to determine if hymen was torn and to check the level of laxity as evidence the victim was habituated to intercourse.

Most experts held the test as ‘unscientific’ and were of the opinion that there is no need to verify if the victim was habituated to sexual intercourse.

In 2013, the Supreme Court held that the two-finger test violates a woman’s right to privacy. The Union ministry for health and family welfare had then banned the test by issuing guidelines on March 19, 2014.

“Per vaginum examination, commonly referred to as the two-finger test must not be conducted for establishing an accident of sexual violence and to comment on the size of vaginal introitus, elasticity of the vagina or hymen or about past sexual experience or habiuation to sexual intercourse as it has no bearing on a case of sexual violence,” says the directive.

Instead, the ministry has suggested that documentation of the injury should be recorded in detail. It states, “Examine the body parts for sexual violence-related findings such as injuries, bleeding, swelling, tenderness, discharge.”

Nirmala Samant Prabhavalkar, former member of National Commission for Women has welcomed the decision. The test was very inhuman and was against the dignity of a woman,” Ms Prabhavalkar said.

Dr Avinash Supe, dean of KEM hospital, clarified that the doctors treating rape survivors were not allowed to conduct the two-finger test on them. “The government has just formalised it and made it official,” said Dr Supe.